The Holy Basil herb, also known as Tulsi, is one of the oldest and most used medicinal herbs. From thousands of years, it has provided the backbone to many treatments amongst Ayurveda physicians. It has also been revered for its spiritual potency and has been referred as “elixir of life” among ancient Ayurvedic texts.
Basil contains a wide range of essential oils, rich in phenolic compounds and a wide array of other natural products including polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins.
Basil has high quantities of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP) which is known to have Anti-inflammatory properties.In addition to this, Basil contains volatile oils, which include estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene. These bring about the Anti-bacterial activity.
Let us see the numerous benefits of this humble and sacred Tulsi.
1. Relieves fever and common cold
Tender Tulsi leaves boiled in water also called as the “Kaadha” act as a preventive against malaria and dengue fever. In the case of acute fever, a decoction of the leaves boiled with cardamom powder in half a litre of water mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature.
Tulsi also protects the human body from all types of viral infections.
2. Cough and respiratory problems:
Eating few Tulsi leaves also cures a cough and flu. It helps to relieve mucous in the case of bronchitis and asthma attacks. A decoction of leaves with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, and cold. A decoction of leaves, cloves and common salt also relieves influenza.
Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as a drink in case of a sore throat. Tulsi is also used as an important ingredient in the preparation of many cough syrups and expectorants.
3. Improves digestion:
Several stomach ailments like acidity, constipation and flatulence can also be cured with Tulsi leaves. Tulsi supports the digestive system and makes one feel less bloated and more comfortable. It also helps people suffering from vomiting and lack of appetite.
4. Tulsi reduces stress and anxiety:
Tulsi is well-known for reducing stress and anxiety. A research trial tested 35 people with generalized anxiety disorders within a hospital clinic. The researchers treated the subjects with 1,000 milligrams of Tulsi extract for 60 days. The study found that Holy Basil significantly reduced levels of anxiety, stress and depression among the patients.
The mechanisms of this included normalizing blood sugar, modulating corticosterone, attenuating the adrenal glands and balancing creatine kinase.
5. Tulsi fights bacterial infections:
A number of studies have investigated Holy Basil’s ability to reduce infections due to bacteria. Much of this antibacterial character of Holy Basil is due to eugenol. Studies have found that eugenol is antimicrobial against Salmonella typhimurium and Micrococcus luteus – both infective bacteria.
Holy Basil has been tested against antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella Typhi and it has been found that Tulsi significantly inhibited these strong contagious bacteria.
This antibacterial quality of Holy Basil supports the clinical experience of Ayurvedic doctors of ancient times that used Tulsi for conditions related to numerous bacteria infections, including intestinal issues, lung conditions, skin infections and eye infections.
6. Tulsi reduces oxidative stress:
Oxidative stress is related to a number of disorders including cardiovascular conditions, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, aches and pains, liver issues and others. Oxidative stress occurs as the body responds to the oxidation of fats and glucose within the body. This oxidation forms free radicals that in turn produce tissue damage.
It has been seen that the whole leaf extract of Holy Basil significantly reduced lipid and protein oxidation. The ability of Tulsi to reduce oxidative stress is often referred to as an adaptogen. This means that it helps the body cope with the stresses that burden our bodies from various fronts – whether it be physical, chemical, emotional or otherwise.
7. Holy Basil normalizes blood sugar:
This effect relates to Tulsi’s ability to regulate insulin and glucose sensitivity. Studies have shown that Tulsi reduced HbA(1c) levels in diabetics and reduced blood sugar levels along with improved retina health after being fed Tulsi. Other similar studies have confirmed this.
8. Tulsi treats ulcers:
Research from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Delhi found that the oil of Holy Basil was able to counteract ulcerative effects. Other studies have confirmed this effect.
9. Holy Basil treats oral fibrosis:
A study was done in which 41 patients were treated with a mixture of Tulsi and turmeric (50/50). The patients applied a paste of the mix 3-4 times a day. Blood samples together with ratings of burning sensations found that the Tulsi and turmeric combination resulted in a significant improvement among the treated patients.
10. Tulsi speeds fracture healing:
Research has also investigated the use of Tulsi for bone healing. The researchers treated 29 cases of bone fractures in the mandible (jawbone). The researchers found that the Tulsi-treated group had faster healing of their fractures and resulted in greater bone tensile strength. This was tested among the patients by measuring the strength of their bites.
11. Holy Basil helps prevent cardiovascular disease:
Research from India’s University of Hyderabad found that Tulsi produced anti-inflammatory effects related to reducing cardiovascular disease. Extracts of Holy Basil reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines which lead to heart disease. Other studies have shown that Tulsi consumption reduces LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL-cholesterol.
12. Holy Basil is a mosquito repellent:
The ability of the oil of Holy Basil to repel mosquitoes has been shown in case studies. The application of the oil onto the skin, clothing or mosquito nets has been shown to be of practical use in the prevention of malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases. Other research has shown it repels a number of other insects.
13. Tulsi helps prevent and treat cancer:
Tulsi has been shown to prevent DNA damage and the potential for tumour creation in a number of studies. Researchers have also tested human lymphocytes in the laboratory and found that Holy Basil extracts protected against DNA strand breaks.
Other studies have shown that Tulsi and its constituents protect against DNA damage related to radiation and chemical exposures.
14. Holy Basil protects the liver:
A couple of studies have investigated Tulsi’s ability to halt or treat liver damage. Both studies showed Holy Basil had a positive effect upon the liver’s health.
15. Holy Basil boosts immunity:
In a research done in India, 24 healthy people were given 300 milligrams of Tulsi each day for four weeks. After the treatment period, those who were given the Tulsi leaf extract showed significantly more T-helper cells, more natural killer cells, and increased IL-4 – indicative of a stronger and more vibrant immune system. Another study showed that Tulsi stimulated the increase in monocytes – THP-1. This is another sign of a stronger immune system.
Continue reading to learn about 15 more health and beauty benefits of Tulsi!